Monday, 17 December, 2018

Amazon scraps secret AI tool that showed bias against women

The often gendered work we assign our robots shows what we value and what we don't The often gendered work we assign our robots shows what we value and what we don'
Katie Ramirez | 13 October, 2018, 18:45

It then gave candidates a score ranging from one to five stars.

And in a statement an Amazon spokesperson said the tool was never used by Amazon recruiters to evaluate candidates.

E-commerce giant Amazon reportedly had to scrap a machine-learning recruitment tool because it was biased against female candidates.

Amazon worked on building an AI to help with hiring people, but the plans backfired when it discovered the system discriminated against women, Reuters reports.

But the system was found to be penalising CVs with the word "women" in them, such as an applicant putting that they were the woman's chess club captain, for example.

The artificial intelligence system was trained on data submitted by applicants over a 10-year period, much of which came from men, it claimed.

"Everyone wanted this holy grail". But the computer program determined a good candidate by looking at resumes Amazon received over a decade - and, at least in engineering positions, a lot of them came from men. Resumes that listed certain women's colleges were also docked points.

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Amazon never exclusively relied on these online recruiting tools though, and disbanded the unit that created it by the start of a year ago, sources said. Amazon's recruiters looked at the recommendations generated by the tool when searching for new hires, but never relied exclusively on those rankings, they said.

Some 55% of United States human resources managers said Artificial Intelligence, or AI, would be a regular part of their work within the next five years, according to a 2017 survey by talent software firm CareerBuilder.

The AI was trained to use a method known as machine learning.

So it set up a team in Amazon's Edinburgh engineering hub that grew to around a dozen people. It would favor candidates that used language found on male candidate's resumes like "executed" and "captured".

The AI's gender bias, along with problems with the program recommending unqualified candidates, meant that the project was eventually shut down.

The project was only ever used in a trial phase, not independently, and Amazon closed it in early 2017.

"I certainly would not trust any AI system today to make a hiring decision on its own", vice president of LinkedIn Talent Solutions John Jersin told Reuters.

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